Recovery

As I enter into the next phase of my journey – the ‘new me’ that woke up from the general anaesthetic, minus the misbehaving 750 grams of my body, the me that has to obey a pain medication schedule or face the consequences, the me that has to find the balance between activity and rest – not too much and not too little of either – I am already learning so much after just a few days. 

1 – Don’t think you can do without meds. Get your schedule and stick to it. Know what you are taking and when you are taking it and put whatever measures you need into place to remember. You may not think you need that dose. But you will. Preemptive meds are sexy and clever.

2 – Someone who can be in charge for those first few days is utterly invaluable. I genuinely couldn’t find the words to thank Ju for her help – she got me home from hospital, worked out my meds schedule, made sure I took them, made sure I rested, hugged me (and took the piss) when I cried, and gave me the daily injections I need (even you tubing how to do them properly) – I tried to thank her, but I was crying too much from the gratitude I felt and crying is still physically painful. I think she got the point. 

3 – You are capable of more than you fear and less than you want. Listening to your body is key. Slowly and gently is key. Don’t be afraid to give things a try but for goodness sake be slow, sensible and careful! It’s easier to take longer (or try another time) that it is to recover from hurting yourself. There are so many things that can wait or be done a gentler way.

4 – You will be grateful for the strangest things. I nearly cried the first time I picked something up off the floor. That makes me SO less helpless! That said, the weight of the doors on my block of flats leading to the outside world are not something I’m able to deal with yet so I can’t go to the corner shop alone!

5 – Low days happen. And they are just as important as the days where you exceed your expectations. Sometimes there will be a reason. Sometimes there won’t. And that doesn’t matter. What matters is listening to it. Giving those emotions time and space and acceptance. Of course they aren’t as nice and fun as the achievement. But they are just as much a part of it. They often contain the most powerful lessons of love and nurturing. As an old counselling adage goes “don’t just do something, sit there!”

All our journeys are different. We all heal at different times and face different challenges. It’s not a race. 

I am already stronger than I gave myself credit for. But that includes ensuring I have enough tactical retreats to regroup and regain strength. Strength is measured differently now and I appreciate it so much more. 

Reset

I feel as if I have a reset button at the end of this week.

I’ve not planned past Friday (bar a few obvious essentials of having care and food).

I have vague thoughts of getting health and fitness back on track – motivation became subzero in the last few months. I’ll have to think about finding somewhere else to live and ponderings of rediscovering the “me”ness of me. But that’s all they are. Vague thoughts. The planning and execution of which will happen after Friday. After the big red button is pushed.

Any scifi/fantasy watchers out there will doubtless have seen a storyline involving the wrong version of a character – maybe the timeline got corrupted, maybe a transporter beam went awry, they got pulled in from a parallel universe or a spell went awry – and we as viewers know that this version is wrong, that for order to restored, for everything to be right again this character needs to be replace by the correct one – by the end of the episode the reset button will be hit and the wrong character will be replaced by the one we love. Then all is right with that world again. We know this. We expect this. We root for this.

But for the “wrong” character, all they know is they exist and they have to die. They may or may not agree with that, they may or may not know. But they stop existing.

This is the only way I can explain how I feel this week. Of course I know that I’m not going to stop existing. Surgery and general anaesthetic is scary but I don’t have a not going to wake up again fear. That’s not what this is, and I don’t mean to overdramatise things. But I do have a weird nebulous existential feeling that on Friday everything changes. I will go to sleep that afternoon. I will wake up sometime later that afternoon and everything will be different. I will be different. Irrevocably changed. There is no putting back what is taken (not that I want it anyway, it’s defective and needs to go).

The me that exists now, typing this, will not be the person who returns home at some point next week.

And as much as I have literally signed up for this. It’s an existential fear that just won’t quit.

See you on the other side…